"You can't create water, you need to bring it in from somewhere else"

Carting water has become the norm for NSW


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NSW Farmers' president James Jackson is carting water for household use for the first time in 30 years. Photo by James Jackson.

NSW Farmers' president James Jackson is carting water for household use for the first time in 30 years. Photo by James Jackson.

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State-wide snapshot of water restrictions.

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Drought is biting and carting water has become the norm for NSW.

Even NSW Farmers' president James Jackson is feeling the impact first-hand.

Mr Jackson posted on Twitter last week: "importing drinking water from Dorrigo New England. The drought is biting hard" with an image of a water truck filling up his tanks.

It's the first time Mr Jackson has needed to cart water for domestic purposes to his property Banchory Park, Guyra in 30 years.

"This has never happened to me before but a lot of people are in this boat," Mr Jackson said.

"We have a 100,000 litres of combined storage in our tanks and it's extraordinary it has dried up.

"We've only had 10 inches (254mm) for the year, which is very dry but it's a lot more than some other people."

When the Jacksons ran out of water they found a supplier at Dorrigo who carted 20,000 litres to their property on September 1.

"I still have groundwater, which I am using for stock but I'm in uncharted territory and don't know how long that will last," Mr Jackson said.

With many farms carting water for household consumption, Mr Jackson said it could start coming from interstate if dams continued to dry up.

"You can't create water, you need to bring it in from somewhere else," Mr Jackson said.

"The water will have to be carted from further away and that could mean coming from interstate.

"Nobody knows how much bore water there is and if that dries up they could look at putting trains out of the desal plant in Sydney as there isn't anything in the dams."

Guyra

Nearby at Guyra, there are two b-double trucks and two semi-trailer trucks carting water to the township every day after its water supply had all but dried up.

With the town on level five water restrictions, the water has been carted from Malpas Dam to the treatment plant at Guyra for the past month.

Armidale Mayor Simon Murray said there were two water reservoirs for Guyra, one was full of silt and the other was sitting at 19 per cent, which was being kept in reserve.

Meanwhile on the Armidale Council website it states: 'where a residential property is using more than 800 litres per day without justification (eg. medical reason, number of residents) council may apply a flow restrictor or issue a letter asking for explanation of consumption".

Residences and businesses must attend to leaks as soon as they are discovered or reported or be subject to a $220 penalty.

Armidale

There are currently level four restrictions in place for Armidale but with no rain on the horizon that could change in the next month to level five restrictions.

With the current levels of water consumption sitting at 180 litres per person per day, Mr Murray said Armidale had one year's worth of water left.

"If we dropped to 160 litres a day, something simple like that, we will extend that by four months," Mr Murray said.

Tamworth 

Further south at Tamworth, water levels at Chaffey Dam are currently sitting at 21 per cent.

If it falls to 20 per cent, Tamworth will be forced onto level five water restrictions and Tamworth Regional Council Mayor Col Murray said that could be within a month.

"Our target is to get people using 150 litres of water a day," Mr Murray said.

He ruled out that Tamworth only had 100 days of water left.

Mr Murray said NSW Government recently announced $5.3 million to be used on water security projects that would extend essential town water supply to Tamworth, Moonbi and Kootingal.

The projects include a temporary weir at Dungowan where water will be released from Chaffey Dam and will flow down the river until it reaches the weir.

The water will then be pumped from the weir into the Dungowan pipeline. This project will reduce the transmission losses and extend the Tamworth, Moonbi and Kootingal town water supply.

The second project is a long-term water security solution involving a proposed pipeline from Chaffey Dam to the Dungowan to Tamworth pipeline.

Currently Tamworth uses 12,000 mega-litres a year.

Tenterfield

Tenterfield are not only battling fires but also critical water restrictions after Jennings residents were advised that critical water restrictions will commence on September 1.

The target for critical water restrictions is 100 litres per person per day.

Orange

Level four restrictions have been in force for Orange since April 6, with the target of water usage 200 litres per person per day.

As of August 29, it has been recorded that the average water usage sits at 140 litres per person per day. This time last year it was 168 litres.

Dubbo

Dubbo Regional Council has identified 11 parks and open spaces across Dubbo and Wellington that will cease to be watered as part of water saving measures.

"It will be a difficult thing for some people to see, however, the water crisis we face as a community is rapidly becoming extreme. This is a necessary water saving measure for Council to take," Dubbo Regional Council chief executive Michael McMahon said.

The 11 sites that will cease to be watered include: Delroy West, Southlakes South, Elizabeth Park Outer, Theresa Maliphant Park, Spears Drive Park, Bennett's Park, Lions Park West Park, South Dubbo Park, Wambool Park, and Teamsters Park and Apex Park in Wellington.

  • We want to know how much water you have been carting and where it's coming from for a story. Email your photos and story to samantha.townsend@theland.com.au
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